Gongfu Cha is the name of the Chinese tea ceremony, an elegant way to serve and appreciate the taste of tea.
Gongfu or Kung Fu, is a Chinese term that applies to every art practiced with skill, associated with the word "cha" which means tea.
Gongfu cha expresses a serving style according to specific rules: special tools are used and movements are very graceful, fluid and precise.
This ceremony is currently used in tea houses, especially in Fujian Province and in the island of Taiwan. The tea used for this ceremony is mostly the semi-fermented Oolong (or Wulong) Tea prepared in this way is much stronger than a normal tea and one sips the infusion in tiny cups.
The teapot used for Gongfu cha is made of purple clay, a special earthenware coming from Yixing, in Kiangsu Province, and both tea and water must be of the highest quality. According to the kind of tea, after having carefully washed the cups, the teapot and every object in and out, the teapot is filled up to half of leaves. Very hot water is poured on the tea leaves and after few seconds the first infusion is discarded, a step called "rinsing the leaves".
The wooden tray, with a tank, acts precisely in that way.
A second infusion is then repeated, pouring hot water again over tea leaves already softened and then sipped religiously.
Four to six infusions of the same tea leaves are usually repeated and each one is different.
Connoisseurs assure they prefer the second and third, because the more equilibrate.